‘Joyeux Noël’ everyone, which is to say Merry Christmas in French
Christmas Around the World with CurrClick has partnered with myself and nine other homeschool bloggers this week.
Since I am primarily of French descent I jumped at the chance to represent my ancestors home country. As I read about the customs I was blessed to find that we still honor some of these traditions: the sacred displaying of the nativity, making of the yule log, placement of shoes, and the late dinner. It is so interesting to see how things are passed from generation to generation and to see where the customs originated.
In France, a Nativity crib or ‘creche’ is filled with clay figurines to represent those present at the birth of Christ. Christmas trees are not very popular in France, but yule logs made out of cherry wood are often burned in French homes. The log is carried into the home on Christmas Eve and is sprinkled with red wine to make the log smell nice when it is burning. There is a custom that the log and candles are left burning all night with some food and drinks left out in case Mary and the baby Jesus come past during the night.
French children put their shoes in front of the fireplace, in the hopes that Père Noël (Santa Claus) will fill them with gifts. He travels with his strict companion Pre Fouettard, who reminds Pere Noel of just how each child has behaved during the past year.
The main Christmas meal, Le Reveillon, is a very late supper held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. A yule log cake (called a bûche de Noël) is eaten for dessert.
Buche de Noel, a French Christmas Tradition (Christmas Yule Log Cake)
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 6 egg yolks
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 6 egg whites
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whip cream, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until thick and stiff. Refrigerate.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale. Blend in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt. In large glass bowl, using clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form stiff peaks. Immediately fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Dust a clean dishtowel with confectioners’ sugar. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and turn the warm cake out onto the towel. Remove and discard parchment paper. Starting at the short edge of the cake, roll the cake up with the towel. Cool for 30 minutes.
- Unroll the cake, and spread the filling to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll the cake up with the filling inside. Place seam side down onto a serving plate, and refrigerate until serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Learn to sing “Jingle Bells” in French
Tintez Cloches, Tintez Cloches (Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells)
Tintez dans la nuit (Ring in the night)
Pere Noel et ses grand daims (Santa Claus and his big reindeer)
Arrivent toute de suite..ite (Are coming soon)